Marissa DeBonis

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Mangrove and seagrass habitat faunal communities in a highly developed area: Building and assessing an outreach tool Abstract of a Master’s degree internship report at the University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Supervised by: Dr. Catherine MacDonald, Dr. Kristine Stump, and Jake Jerome. Number of pages in text: 49 Mangrove and seagrass habitats are essential to South Florida’s marine ecosystems. These habitats and the species that occupy them are facing a magnitude of anthropogenic stressors; improved management requires addressing existing knowledge gaps around use of these habitats. For this internship project, baited remote underwater videos (BRUVs) were used as a noninvasive tool to begin to document the community structure of northern Biscayne Bay’s mangrove and seagrass habitats. Footage was used to create a public outreach tool—an interactive, online map that displays conservation-relevant information and BRUV clips. A survey was used to evaluate outreach tool effectiveness and Florida resident attitudes towards and perceptions of mangroves and seagrasses. Survey results showed no difference in participant views of these ecosystems between treatment groups (interactive tool, written materials, and a control). The survey showed participants had positive perceptions of both mangrove and seagrass ecosystems and believed they were important and should be protected. Future research will include participants from the entire US and a larger sample size. The results of this study have potential consequences for outreach, conservation and management strategies.


Department: MES

MPS Track: MMS

Location: Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization

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